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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirDecember 12, 20172min353

It’s an interesting question: If a judge really is supposed to read the law dispassionately, does that leave any room on the state’s highest court for a justice whose apparent credo is, “We must take sides; neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim”?

Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics, none too happy with the tilt of the Colorado Supreme Court to begin with, notes that the quotation, from the late Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, is featured in the banner on Melissa Hart’s Facebook profile. Hart, a University of Colorado Law School prof who was touted in 2015 as a prospect for an opening on the top court at that time, has made the short list again, this time to replace Allison Eid (who moved up to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the federal judiciary).

Opines Peak:

We must take sides? Must we? As a judge? Really? If liberals want an activist judge, it would appear that they’ve found one, but it’s so awkward to be so blatant about it.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 3, 20174min637

It’s like a game of musical chairs — except, at the end, there’s one too many seats instead of too few. As our Ernest Luning reported earlier, the U.S. Senate voted 56-41 on Thursday to confirm Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, filling the vacancy created by Justice Neil Gorsuch’s elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Which, of course, leaves an opening on the state’s highest court. Only, this time, the U.S. Senate won’t have a say in who gets the seat; it’ll be up to the Colorado Supreme Court Nominating Commission. The commission will meet Nov. 27 and 28, interview candidates and come up with a short list of nominees from which Gov. John Hickenlooper will pick Eid’s replacement.

Here’s more via a press release hot off the presses from the Colorado Judicial Department:

To be eligible for appointment to fill the vacancy, the applicant must be a qualified elector of the State of Colorado and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado for five years.  The current annual salary for this position is $177,350.  The initial term of office of a Supreme Court justice is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent justice, if retained by the voters, has a term of 10 years.

Application forms are available from the office of the ex officio chair of the nominating commission, Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice, or from the Supreme Court Clerk, Cheryl Stevens, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203.  Applications also are available on the court’s home page at: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm.

So, who gets to sit in on that very special star chamber that (in conjunction with the guv) picks our state’s most powerful judges? The press release has that info, too — designated by congressional district:

  • Kathleen Lord and Daniel Ramos, 1stCongressional District;
  • Ann Hendrickson and Shannon Stevenson, 2nd Congressional District;
  • Kim Childs and Robert Scott, 3rdCongressional District;
  • Scott Johnson and Tracee Bentley, 4th Congressional District;
  • Jay Patel and Eric Hall, 5th Congressional District;
  • James Carpenter and Michael Burg, 6th Congressional District;
  • Carolyn Fairless and Olivia Mendoza, 7thCongressional District;
  • Connie McArthur, at-large.

 


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirAugust 15, 20175min3679

The response to Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid’s nomination in June to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has mostly ranged from effusive praise on the political right to polite reserve along the rest of the spectrum. As an example of the latter, Colorado senior Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet was nothing if not respectful when the nomination was announced though he didn’t tip his hand as to his likely vote in Eid’s pending confirmation proceedings before the Senate.

While miffed at the Trump administration over its disregard for procedural protocol in the way it nominated Eid, Bennet was statesmanlike about the judge herself: “Nonetheless, Justice Eid deserves full consideration by the United States Senate,” he said of his fellow Coloradan. “I look forward to reviewing her record and writings in the weeks ahead.” An acknowledgment, perhaps in part, of her solid standing in the legal community, where among other things she earned a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. Ideology aside, she is viewed as a competent jurist.

So, isn’t there any push-back from the left of center? The Alliance for Justice stepped forward this week to offer precisely that.

The liberal Washington, D.C.-based judicial think tank doesn’t think much of Eid’s record on the legal issues that have come before her during her time on Colorado’s highest court. In a lengthy statement to the media, longtime alliance President Nan Aron touts a report the group produced on Eid and denounces her nomination:

“In tapping Allison Eid for the Tenth Circuit, Donald Trump has chosen a person whose views are so extreme that she is frequently the lone dissenter in rulings made by the Colorado Supreme Court. Eid is an ultraconservative outlier who has taken aim at workers’ rights, at public education, voting rights, and the environment. She does not belong on the federal bench, and we urge senators to oppose her confirmation.”

Among her transgressions, which the press statement summarizes from the alliance report:

  • Eid was on the original list of potential Supreme Court nominees provided to President Trump by the Federalist Society and  Heritage Foundation, which he made clear was based on a litmus test that included overturning Roe v. Wade.
  • Eid has ruled in ways that would undermine public education: in favor of allowing public dollars to finance religious schools, against efforts to increase funding for public schools, and against teachers’ rights.
  • Eid’s rulings against workers’ rights include a dissent in which she wrote that a employee who fell at work was not entitled to workers’ compensation because she couldn’t prove her employer was at fault in her injury. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the worker was entitled to compensation.

Give the alliance credit for being straightforward, right? None of the procedural game playing that can be used to scuttle a nomination in the Senate; no hint of scandal or digs at her competence. The Alliance for Justice simply doesn’t agree with Eid’s world view.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 24, 20174min257

Conservative Colorado judge Neil Gorsuch is the leading contender for President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination, which could happen as early as next week, according to media reports. Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, was included in a list of 21 potential nominees for the Supreme Court released earlier by the Trump campaign and has recently emerged as the front-runner on a shortlist of six possibilities, sources close to Trump say.